Thursday, July 28, 2005

Mixed bag

First, the bad news: Alabama's child poverty rate surged 14 percent between 2000 and 2003, according to the annual Kids Count study. In 2003, roughly 81,000 poor Alabama children were growing up in homes where no adult had been employed in the previous year, a rate above the national average.

Now for the good news: The study found that the state's high school dropout rate and teen birth rate both fell. So did the infant mortality rate, bucking an unfortunate national trend.

Child poverty is a multifaceted problem, but one step toward a solution is to ensure jobs are readily available to lower-income parents, many of whom live in the relatively undeveloped Black Belt region. That's one reason the Interstate 85 extension and other efforts to attract employers to the area are so important.

Of course, the state also should ensure lower-income Alabamians receive a quality education that gives them a shot at climbing the economic ladder. But that relates back to our education funding system, which relates back to our broken tax system, which is another topic for another novel post.


Blogger Hanging by the News said...

Another step toward a solution is to ensure that illegals are not taking jobs that lower-income Americans need. Lower the number of illegals and you lower the unemployment rate.

I think that would also improve the tax situation. I think the state and the country is missing out on taxes when businesses are basically paying illegals slave wages for semi-skilled work such as construction work, not to mention the under-the-table checks to illegals that may not go through payroll, meaning no payroll taxes.

I've seen Mexican workers getting paid with construction company owners' personal checks when I worked for the bank. While a construction worker should get paid more than a bank teller, I was probably making the same amount - $7 an hour. That's not right.

If citizens get those jobs, they'll likely get paid more than the illegals, not to mention that their payroll taxes will be taken out.

It may not fix Alabama's tax system, but it couldn't hurt.

2:03 PM  
Blogger SJ said...

I never could believe that I-85 didn't go through Miss. That's a good start in making it so.

2:11 PM  

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